Perfect Timing

By | 13 May 2024

The work of the cloud is lonely and continuous.
The rider from Brazil unable to find
other work during lockdown. Whose
bike and capacity to ride remained unchecked,
lucky to leave with just a broken arm.
In such jocund company, what little thought to gaze.
The worker from Malaysia holding
someone else’s food when a car side-swiped
his scooter. For two and a half days,
he remained ‘yet to be identified.’
A platform host, the breezy, never-ending lines.
The driver who hit a woman finishing
her own fast-food job, who went on to
complete his delivery, and received $16.75.
Released on bail he went on to make a thousand more
deliveries that year.1
The flash upon the inward eye, a-flutter in the jig.
The rider hit by a truck as two orders appeared
on his app during the Saturday evening spike.
Deemed outside the twenty-minute delivery
window, his death left his family without
means to repatriate his body home.
When all at once, I saw a crowd whose golden coffers fill.
The worker from China who sent his salary
back to his wife and two children in their small
village. Ineligible, inevitably for workers’ comp.
What wealth the technology to me had brought.
The gig worker is thirteen times
more likely to present to emergency
than other cyclists. Thirteen ways
of looking at this economy, fifteen
food delivery deaths in Australia.
The manager stated that she was unaware
of the legal obligation to report a rider’s death.
But I know better now what companies keep,
and what account they should be made to make.
For oft, there comes to me a sight
of cyclists flying towards green light.

i.m. Bojoy Paul
Chow Khai Shien
Burak Dogan
Akshay Deepah Doultani
Dede Fredy
Xiaojun Chen
Adil Abbas

  1. This case is from the United States; all others occurred in Australia.
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